Sunday, January 11, 2009

To market, to market....Asian style!

Are you saying you don't shop at your local Asian market? What are you, made of money? As a recent and well reported article in the Washington Post mentions, you can get almost anything you want, and most things you didn't know you wanted, for a whole lot less than at stores like Whole Foods and their ilk. We shop occasionally at several different Asian marts here in Portland (and for PDX fish fans, our friends Denise and Keith swear by the piscine paradise at Uwajimaya), and it is more than a little satisfying to walk out with two bags of groceries for about $13. Do I sometimes wince thinking about the provenance of some of these bargains. Well, yeah, a little. But when I see a big box of limes at 6 for $1 I can't help but think of a cocktail shaker full of Hendrick's Gimlets. Or when those craggy, clawy live Dungeness crabs at ABC Seafood for $3.50 a pound are begging me to take them home and throw them into a pot of boiling water....at least I think that's what they're saying...for a plate of crab cakes, I am so in. Read the article as a sort of primer, and then check out these amazing aisles of temptation in your town. At the very least I guaranrtee an amazing cultural experience!

5 comments:

kab said...

I agree that Asian markets are great deal, and I, too, find the questions of provenance troubling. Which is the reason I tend to shop at markets that offer (reliably) organic produce and have a higher percentage of locally sourced items. Yes, it's more expensive for some items but, shopping judiciously, I can buy food that's healthier for my family and for my community.

That said, most stores in this area get their fish from the same suppliers, so having a Seafood Watch pocket guide with you is handy. And, attention you iPhone users, these guides are available for your phones!

dp said...

I do like Uwajimaya. I like their deli. They also have live crab and clams and such. They sell NW sourced meats. They even sell a PDX brand noodle (Evergreen) and baked goods from a PDX Asian bakery. The fish are labeled where they're from so one may choose to purchase or not.

The one thing they need to do is to step up their produce department. Stuff is not very fresh.

For SE Asian items I tend to go to a small market on Sandy.

bb said...

kab...That is the main reason that most of my food $$ go to New Seasons. But man, those $60 bags of groceries are killer.

dp...a funny thing about Uwajamiya and fish: w and I were shopping at ABC Seafood out on Powell and sitting on a stool behind the counter was a check from Uwajimaya to ABC for $3000.00+. I'm guessing they must be a big seafood source for a lot of markets.

dp said...

That's interesting. I haven't been to ABC so I might need to make a visit soon.

bb said...

Just so ya know, it really is the best place for live crabs in town, too! It is tiny-tiny. Let me know what you think. Make some crab cakes to serve with those Meyer lemons you're growing!